Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim to participate in Second Africa-Vietnam Forum: 16 to 19 August 2010

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, will lead a South African delegation to participate in the Second Africa-Vietnam Forum being held in Hanoi, Vietnam from 16 to 19 August 2010 under the theme: “Africa-Vietnam: Cooperation for Sustainable Development”.  The Forum’s meeting is in line with the commitment to deepen and strengthen South-South collaboration.

The First Africa-Vietnam Forum was held in Hanoi, Vietnam on 28 to 30 May 2003 under the theme: “Vietnam-Africa: Opportunities for Cooperation and Development in the 21st Century”. The discussion at the inaugaral Forum focused on, amongst others, reviewing the status of Africa-Vietnam relations, evaluating potentials, exchanging information, and creating a new start for Africa-Vietnam relations in the 21st century.

The Second Forum, being a follow up to the discussions of the May 2003 meeting, aims to cement and expand the traditional solidarity, friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation between African countries and Vietnam in all fields on the basis of mutual respect of sovereignty. The Second Forum will also seek to consider multi-sector and multifaceted cooperation in food security, mining, poverty reduction, trade, and training of human resources for sustainable development between African countries and Vietnam. Furthermore, the Forum will endeavour to outline a cooperation roadmap for the next decade, which includes a legal framework, priority areas, and specific measures for strengthening cooperation.

Relations between the Republic of South Africa and Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Vietnam supported the struggle for liberation in South Africa and formed close ties with the then exiled African National Congress (ANC). In 1978, the Government of Vietnam invited an ANC delegation led by its President, the late Oliver R Tambo, to visit Vietnam. Among other things, the ANC delegation sought to learn from the Vietnamese experience in their struggle for independence colonial domination and occupation.

Following this visit, the ANC compiled a report that became famously known as the “Green Book” which emphasised the importance of mobilising the masses in a People’s War to confront the apartheid regime. In this context, there is a need for renewed determination to maximise the opportunity presented by these fraternal and historic relations.   

Formal diplomatic relations between South Africa and Vietnam were established on 22 December 1993 in New York, USA. In 2000, Vietnam established a resident Mission in Pretoria. The South African Embassy in Vietnam was opened on 1 October 2002. H.E. Mr Ratubatsi S Moloi is the current South African Ambassador to Vietnam.

Since the formalisation of relations, there has been a steady exchange of high level visits.  Of particular note was the landmark State Visit to Vietnam by President Thabo Mbeki in 2007 and the Official Visit to South Africa of the then Prime Minister of Vietnam, H.E. Mr Phan Van Khai in 2004. A number of concrete programmes of cooperation between the Republic of South Africa and Vietnam are in place.

Vietnam is the fifth largest trading partner with South Africa within the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. A Trade Agreement between Vietnam and South Africa was signed in 2000. It makes provision for the establishment of Joint Trade Committee, which last met in 2008. Although the balance of trade is currently in favor of Vietnam, there is renewed determination address this through increased bilateral cooperation.The total volume of trade between the two countries was R1.3 billion in 2009, constituted as follows:

South African imports from Vietnam: R  987, 901 000
South African exports to Vietnam:     R  329, 128 000.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim is scheduled to return to the Republic of South Africa on Friday, 20 August 2010.

For further information please contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Saul Kgomotso Molobi on +27 82 940 1647, +27 12 351 0083 or email him on molobisk@dirco.gov.za.

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
PRETORIA, RSA
0001


15 August 2010

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